The Holiday Destinations Growing in Popularity, According to Google
From finding your nearest restaurant to the name of that song that’s been in your head all day, it seems like Google holds the answer to everything nowadays. Travel is no different, so we decided to utilise Google Trends to find out which holiday destinations are growing (and falling) in popularity.
We have created The Global Travel Search Index, which ranks the holiday destinations that have shown the greatest increase in search interest over the past 12 years, using Google Trends to analyse how search interest for every country has changed from 2004-2016.
The results of our analysis were truly fascinating, with clear peaks and droughts in search interest throughout the 12-year period in relation to current events at that time.
For example, we saw a drastic decrease in search interest for Tunisia holidays in 2016 following the tragic terror incident which occurred there in 2015. Elsewhere, Montenegro showed a 75% increase in search interest in 2006 following the independence referendum.
Looking at the countries which had shown the greatest increase in search interest from 2004-2016 it was interesting to see that holidaymakers appear to be becoming more adventurous with their holiday choices, with Cape Verde topping our Global Travel Search Index ranking, while other far-flung destinations including the UAE, Philippines and Pakistan also ranked at the top. Meanwhile, more traditional holiday destinations such as Spain and Italy ranked towards the bottom, while France showed a considerable decrease in search interest.
We charted our findings into an infographic which can be viewed below along with a further breakdown of the results and the methodology behind our research.
From our research we found Cape Verde has shown the greatest increase in search interest through 2004-2016. In this 12-year period search interest in Cape Verde as a holiday destination has increased by 3000%.
The increased search interest in Cape Verde is in line with tourism figures which show the country experienced a 13.6% rise in foreign visitors in 2016, based on the previous year.
Cape Verde’s increasing popularity could be attributed to a greater availability of new direct flight routes from the UK to the island in recent years.
The UAE showed the second-greatest increase in search interest, with a 681% rise in search interest between 2004-2016. Considering the vast development of UAE regions in recent years, plus the rise in expats relocating to the area, it is not surprising to see such a large growth in search interest for the UAE.
The UAE economy has doubled between 2006-2016 and the UAE is now the tenth most popular destination for expats.
At the bottom end of the scale, Libya showed the greatest decrease in search interest, with a drop of 89%. Given the state of political unrest in the country it is not surprising that the country ranks near the bottom of the index.
The country with the second greatest decrease in search interest is Tunisia, which has shown an 88% decrease in search interest since 2004-2016. The country experienced a particularly drastic drop in search interest in 2016, following the tragic terror attack in 2015. Between 2015 and 2016 there was a 78% drop in search interest for Tunisia holidays.
Looking specifically at individual years which showed a dramatic increase or decrease in search interest for individual countries, there were a number of instances that we were able to link to current events at that time. These include:
- Following the Montenegro Independence Referendum in 2006, search interest for Montenegro holidays increased by 75% between 2005 and 2006, and again by a further 3% between 2006 and 2007
- After Latvia joined the EU in 2004 there was a 30% increase in search interest for Latvia holidays in 2005
- Poland also saw a 30% increase in search interest in 2005 after joining the EU in 2004
- Iceland has shown a continued increase in search interest annually since entering into a period of financial recovery in 2012. Between 2012-2016 search interest in Iceland holidays has increased by 125%.
- Egypt has shown a continued decrease since 2011 when political unrest in the country increased
- Costa Rica displayed a 17% decrease in 2013 following the 2012 earthquake, and continued to drop in the immediate years subsequent
- France has shown a continued decrease in search interest year on year, which could be related to ongoing terror attacks in the country
When looking specifically at True Luxury Travel Destinations we were pleased to see increased search interest for many of our destinations including:
- Oman (63% increase)
- Cambodia (27% increase)
- Malawi (20% increase)
- India (7% increase)
Using Google Trends we analysed the search interest for the phrase ‘[country name] holidays’ for every country, to find the search interest for each country.
i.e. to analyse the search interest for Spain we used the phrase ‘Spain holidays’.
For each country we charted the search interest for each year through 2004 to 2016. We then calculated the % difference in search interest from 2004 to 2016.
Using this calculation, we ranked every country on our Global Travel Search Index from the country with the greatest increase in search interest (number 1) down to the country with the greatest decrease in search interest (number 197).
With this ranking we can infer that those countries showing the greatest increase in search interest have displayed an increase in popularity as holiday destinations, while those countries with the greatest decrease in search interest have shown a decrease in popularity as a holiday destination.
We also looked individually at specific years through the 12-year period where certain countries showed a dramatic spike or drop in search interest and linked this back to current events that could impact on interest in this country at this time.
It is important to note this research does not dictate that the countries ranked top of the Global Travel Search Index are the most popular holiday destinations overall, rather they are the countries that have shown the greatest growth in popularity as a holiday destination since 2004.
- Many other aspects could impact on search interest, additional factors could include a change in the way that people use search engines due to auto-suggest options and a change in the number of users using search engines vs. visiting a preferred site directly
- This research does not indicate the countries with the highest search interest overall during the period 2004-2016, the data indicates the countries with the greatest increase in search interest during this period
- This research does not indicate the number of actual travellers to these countries for this time period
- Search data was not available for the following countries:
Antigua & Barbuda
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Saint Vincent & Grenadines